Matt Kemp belted a solo home run in the eighth inning to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
The series is now tied 1-1 and is headed to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4. It would return to Los Angeles for a Game 5, if needed.
With a sold out Dodgers crowd shell shocked into silence after Dodger killer Matt Carpenter tied the game, 2-2, with a two-run homer off reliever J.P Howell in the top of the eighth, Kemp sent them back into a frenzy in the bottom of inning when he sent a Pat Neshak slider over the left field wall for what proved to be the game winning homer.
Afterward Kemp said, frankly, it was one of the biggest home runs of his career.
"I think in the playoffs you getting big hits like that and helping your team win is big. It was definitely fun and I'm glad I could do that to help the team win," Kemp said.
He went 2-for-4 on the night and now he's 5-for-9 in the first two games of the series.
Neshak took the loss.
Kemp's heroics were needed after Carpenter did it to the Dodgers again, his home run spoiling a dominant outing by Zack Greinke.
The Cardinals third baseman has four hits in the series, all of them for extra bases, to go along with his six RBIs.
Greinke dominated Cardinals hitters in his seven innings of work, mixing speeds between a 96 mph fastball and a curve that dipped to as low as 71 mph on the radar gun. The righty went seven innings, only allowing two hits, he walked two and struck out seven.
"Command was really good. A.J. [Ellis] said the slider was better than normal. I didn't use my curve that much and [I used the] change up a little less than I have been, but fastball, slider command was better than normal," Grenike said.
He even picked up a two hits and scored a run.
Greinke was matched by Cardinals starter Lance Lynn who used his 96 mph fastball and slider to strike out eight Dodger hitters in sic innings. The 27-year-old allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking two batters.
The Dodgers bullpen almost let them down.
The Carpenter home run Howell allowed was sandwiched between a single he allowed to Oscar Tavares and another single he gave up to Jon Jay. Howell was pulled without recording an out. But, Brandon League came in get Matt Holliday to ground out and Jhonny Peralta to ground into an inning ending double play.
"League came in and picked me up which was humongous because that's a tough situation. Then Kenley [Jansen] shut the door, so it was a great thing. I've got to get a little better but as a whoie we did great," Howell said after the game.
League got the win, and Jansen was credited with the save.
The Cardinals leave Los Angeles with a chance to close out the series at home, but their manager Mike Matheny says it's far from over.
"Getting out with that win [Friday] was big for us. This one is fresh on our minds, and it was there, and we let it slip away. Now we've got to let that go and figure out how to put a good game on the day after tomorrow," Matheny said.